E-mail ads are growing up, reaching new levels of sophistication and achieving more results than ever. The trend is especially true among high-end retailers, whose customers view such ads as a quick
shopping trip or a guilty pleasure they take during the course of an average workday. "What we're seeing is that retailers are getting smarter about how they use e-mail, not just using it more often,
but using it more effectively," says Bart Sichel, an associate principal with consulting firm McKinsey & Co. "There's no doubt that promotional offers work, but at the same time, especially for the
higher-end players, they're learning how to create compelling messaging, too." The e-mail ads are considerably flashier than the ones used years ago. Rather than boring, text-only messages, these
ads employ all the latest high-tech graphic wizardry and photography made possible by widespread high-speed Internet access to target their audience. A survey of 137 online retailers by Forrester
Research revealed that on average, consumers open e-mail ads at a rate of about 33 percent and "unsubscribe," or ask to be taken off the mailing list, at an annual rate of 9%. Shoppers "click through"
to retail sites at an average rate of 11 percent, and place an order at an average rate of 4.3 percent, according to the study.
Read the whole story at WSJ (paid subscription required) »